Derived from parallel literary and programmatic studies, this scheme for the Hans Christian Andersen Museum is a flexible, non-linear presentation of the writer’s life and work.

We identified, analyzed, and categorized major themes and motifs of all fairy tales of HCA that have been translated into English. This analysis yielded a series of recurrent literary techniques, objects, and characters, which we quantified as a table illustrating the chronological development of his storytelling. The stories are catalysts for the crafting of physical experience,  sequences of events both interior and exterior, architectural and landscape.

Building shape is derived from a tracing of a Marguerite Daisy. Spoked in form, the “petals” of the structure define zones of the site. The Northwest corner of the site a plaza opens to the new blocks of development on the former Thomas Thriges Gade, inscribed by two wings of the museum programmed with public function. Civic space transitions into the southwestern corner of the site, bordered to the west by the light rail and a stairwell ascending from the parking lot below. The Tinderbox and Workshop hover over this civic ground. On the east, and between the Memorial Hall and the new structure, a garden of flowers and birds lends quiet and interiority. The exterior materiality is derived from recurrent motifs in Andersen’s stories. Mirroring, color, and darkness pervade many of his tales, and these are manifested in a combination of wood and colorfully reflective metal on the facade.

The museum’s interior spaces embrace subjectivity, and visitors must be able to garner, through programming, the opportunity of multiple readings. From scholarship of HCA’s writings and the appearance, re-appearance, and disappearance of certain themes and motifs, this museum is to be re-programmed over time. As scholars reveal new understandings, Andersen’s life and life’s work will become accessible, presented in thematic, as opposed to chronological, methods.

Completed in collaboration with Kate Bernheimer and Sarah Minor, researchers.